Place Silicon Valley in its proper historical context and you see that, despite its mythology, it’s far from unique. [...] this breakthrough enabled a few well-placed corporations to reap the rewards. By capitalising on network effects, early mover advantage, and near-zero marginal costs of production, they have positioned themselves as gateways to information, giving them the power to extract rent from every transaction.
Undergirding this state of affairs is a set of intellectual property rights explicitly designed to favour corporations. This system — the flip side of globalisation — is propagated by various trade agreements and global institutions at the behest of the nation states who benefit from it the most. It’s no accident that Silicon Valley is a uniquely American phenomenon; not only does it owe its success to the United States’ exceptionally high defence spending — the source of its research funding and foundational technological breakthroughs — that very military might is itself what implicitly secures the intellectual property regime.
Seen in that light, tech’s recent development begins to look rather different. Far from launching a new era of global prosperity, it has facilitated the further concentration of wealth and power. By virtue of their position as digital middlemen, Silicon Valley companies are able to extract vast amounts of capital from all over the world. The most salient example is Apple: recently crowned the world’s most valuable company, Apple rakes in enormous quarterly profits even as the Chinese workers who actually assemble its products are driven to suicide.
I don't actually like the "far from unique" phrasing but I'll need to think about a better way to conceptualise it